Journal of Gastroenterology
Italian scientists say that gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is more common in overweight women than within the average population.
The findings published in the Sept. 14 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, led by Dr. Corazziari from the University La Sapienzaˇ of Rome discovered that higher oestrogen concentration, which is common in overweight females, is an important factor in causing GERD.
Meanwhile, no correlation was found between GERD and being overweight, in men .
GERD is a disease with chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. Heartburn (burning discomfort behind the breastbone) is the major symptom of GERD because the gastric acid gets into esophagus.
It is known that fatty foods produce a prolonged inhibitory effect on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), particularly following intra-duodenal lipid perfusion, but this inhibitory effect would appear due to a cholecystokinin-mediated action on LES. An epidemiological study revealed that overweightedness, but not excess fatty food intake, increases the risk of hospitalisation for GERD. Gastric distention following a copious meal also relaxes LER and increases the possibility of GERD.
Had these mechanisms play big roles in the patients studied by Dr Corazziari, then the overweight male patients (not just female) should also have a significant higher possibility of GERD than general population.
Since oestrogen can also inhibit the LES, Dr. Corazziari suggests that concentration of this hormone may be a possible explanation of increased GERD prevalence in obese females.